• 25 October 2021
  • News,

Tolent, one of the North East’s largest construction companies, has announced some significant board changes as it reported losses for year ending 2020.

Andy McLeod, who joined the group in 2017, has decided to step down from his position as CEO and will leave at the end of November having steered the business through a very difficult period over the last two years.

Paul Webster, the current COO, becomes CEO with immediate effect. Paul has been with the group for over 23 years and has been on the main board since March 2018. This follows the announcement earlier in the year that Andy Clark, CFO, will also be leaving. His replacement, an experienced CFO from within the construction industry, will be joining around the turn of the year.

Craig Anderson, non-executive chairman, said: “I very much look forward to working with Paul and the rest of the team as Tolent enters a new stage in its development and wish the two Andys all the best in the future with thanks for their efforts over the years.

“2020 has undoubtedly been the most difficult year in the group’s history. Despite record turnover of £185m the group recorded losses of £8.3m with the impact of Covid-19 exacerbating difficulties associated with closing its Southern business which resulted in losses on discontinuing operations of almost £12m. The ongoing business remained resilient, posting profits of £3.6m, helped by a committed and dedicated workforce.

“To strengthen the balance sheet and fuel future development, a two-year £12m refinancing exercise was successfully concluded in May of this year.

“In 2021 the business is once again trading profitability but margins remain under pressure as a result of ongoing material supply issues and inflation. Looking forward, the focus will remain on its core businesses in the North East and Yorkshire that have remained profitable throughout.”

Commenting on his new role and the prospects for Tolent, Paul Webster commented: “The last 18 months have certainly been some of the most challenging that I can remember in my 23 years at Tolent, but we are well placed as we move towards 2022 with a healthy forward order book and over £130m of secured and probable work across a wide variety of sectors.

“I am both honoured and delighted to lead the business and our teams into the next stage of our development.

“Despite the ongoing industry and global difficulties we have many recent success stories which is a testament to the dedication and hard work of all our colleagues. These include the completion of Newcastle’s tallest building, Hadrian’s Tower, and the transformation of the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Sunderland which has led to numerous further contracts for the Newcastle Hospitals Trust. 

“2022 will see the completion of our largest project to date, the challenging and prestigious £84m Milburngate mixed use development in Durham, and the continued expansion of our residential business in the North East and Yorkshire which is set to deliver more than 2,000 units over the coming years, covering both the public and private sectors.”